Episode 074

Catherine Addai

I am a believer in the reality of dreams

July 7, 2019
arts
business

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Episode Overview

To celebrate the grand opening of the first Kaela Kay Fashion Boutique & Design Studio next weekend, we’re revisiting our conversation with Catherine Addai, the CEO and trailblazing print diva behind Kaela Kay – a fashion-forward and inclusive brand inspired by Catherine’s African roots. 

“We’re trying to teach people that being different is great and that everything doesn’t have to be hanging out for it to be sexy and beautiful.” – Catherine Addai

Catherine Addai is an award-winning designer and the creative mind behind Kaela Kay.  You’ve seen her designs worn by celebrities, including Ava DuVernay.  And if you were watching the recent royal wedding, one of her dresses made an appearance there too! 

Catherine describes herself as ‘bold, fearless and fierce!’, and her personal style as ‘modern, demure, sexy’.  But it wasn’t that long ago that Catherine was working a ‘regular day job’ in the health sector. It was out of frustration that she made her first dress – her seamstress hadn’t made a dress she wanted to wear to an event.  Her mother gave her a sewing machine and encouraged her to start making her own clothes.  

“If you make a decision, stick to it. If that is what you want to go for, go for it. I am a believer in the reality of dreams. I had a dream and by divine intervention, support, God, and the talent God has given me, I was able to manifest that into a reality.” – Catherine Addai

Kaela Kay, which was named after Catherine and her oldest daughter Mikaela, was launched in 2012. The brand stands out with its bold prints and Catherine’s fearlessness in mixing prints and colours. One year after its launch, CNN named Catherine one of ‘Africa’s Hottest New Fashion Designers’.  

“So if you have a dream out there go for it. Cultivate it and have fun doing it. Meet wonderful people. Meet as many people as you can. Be open. Be outgoing. Have a good time because, you just never know. You never know who you’re going to meet, never know who you’re going to inspire, or who’s going to inspire you.” – Catherine Addai

Catherine Addai is a testament to what happens when you pursue your passion and purpose. What started out as a dress she made out of necessity has become her way of empowering other women. She has turned “being fashionable” into something formidable, which is probably why she has won the admiration and support of women from around the world. 

what you’ll learn in this episode

  • How frustration led Catherine to start what is now a global brand 
  • Why her brand is called ‘Kaela Kay’
  • What it took for Catherine to make the leap from a ‘regular day job’ in the health sector to becoming a full-time designer 
  • What goes into the making of a Kaela Kay collection
  • How she’s used social media to help grow her business
  • The big plans that Catherine has to grow the Kaela kay brand
  • Who is Catherine’s biggest inspiration
  • What the theme song of Catherine’s life would be
  • What her “I am…” is

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